Pet tech - the next big thing for pet businesses
13th December 2018
The Internet of Things is booming and with the rise in smart devices for humans, comes the rise in smart devices for pets. The demand for pet technology that makes a pet’s daily care easier and improves their health and wellbeing is growing. We take a closer look at why this area of the market can’t be ignored by independent pet shops and large chains alike.
The pet product marketplace
In 2017, the pet industry hit $86 billion in the US and this year that figure is set to rise. During 2018 there will be an estimated $233 million in sales on pet technology products in the US. Meanwhile, according to American Express, UK dog owners are spending £1,252 ($1,570) a year on their pets. This shows that pet owners are embracing pet technology and are willing to spend money on their pets to ensure they can give them the best possible life. Many pet owners see their pets as members of the family and consider pet technology products a great investment so that they can give their pet a happy, healthy lifestyle.
Smart thermostats, lights, security cameras and more are becoming commonplace in many modern homes, so it’s no surprise that pets within the home are also benefiting from smart products. For many, the home is also their pet’s home. Smart pet products help an owner care for their pets on a whole new level. Connected pet doors such as the Microchip Cat Flap Connect can give an owner an insight into their pet’s patterns of behaviour in and out of the house, while the Microchip Pet Feeder Connect will be able to monitor a pet’s food intake to help prevent obesity and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
Health conscious people find the opportunity to monitor their daily exercise appealing, so it’s no surprise that they want to ensure their pets are getting enough exercise too. Dog activity and behaviour monitor, Animo, can tell an owner how much exercise their dog is getting each day and enable daily activity goals to be set. This can have a positive influence on the owner, as they get out and about more to reach their dog’s goal.
We rely on apps in so many areas of our lives that having app-controlled pet products is a natural evolution. Pet owners can now lock pet doors remotely (Microchip Cat Flap Connect and Microchip Pet Door Connect) and monitor changes in behaviour such as barking, scratching, shaking or sleep quality (Animo). This connectivity means that pet owners can have a greater insight into their pet’s activity and behaviour so that if changes occur, they can investigate the cause, which could be due to illness or distress.
In today’s busy world, many pet owners will be at work during the week and leave their pets at home when they go on holiday. Absent owners are therefore given peace of mind that when their pet is at home alone or being cared for by someone else, they can see what’s happening with their pet within the app or via notifications.
Many of us like the convenience that comes with smart products. For example, the Microchip Cat Flap Connect can be locked remotely so that if an owner is out of the house when the weather turns bad, they can lock the door from anywhere to ensure their pet is safely indoors. The product’s curfew mode and a cat’s exit permissions can also be changed easily within the app. Similarly, Animo offers a level of convenience. The product can tell an owner if their dog has reached its daily activity goal without the owner having to keep track each day.
Online sales of pet technology products are bigger than ever, but there are ways that bricks and mortar stores can attract customers too. Many pet owners still purchase low cost products such as food and toys in physical stores, so creating an area dedicated to pet technology products should catch the eye of customers as they browse the store. Staff members should do their homework so that they know exactly how the products work and are able to answer technical questions that may arise.
45 percent of the UK population and 68 percent of the US population own a pet. Therefore, even retailers who are not solely focussed on selling pet products should take the opportunity to display pet tech products, as it’s likely many of the customers browsing their store will be pet owners.